Jim Funnell

“Most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered.”

Rainer Maria Rilke’s description of the powerful effect of poetry resonates with Jim Funnell’s perception of jazz composition and improvisation as ideal vehicles for infinite shades of emotion. Jim’s love for sound parallels his fondness of the written word, and inspiration from literary sources often pervades his music.

In his teenage years, exposure to recordings by jazz piano masters such as Ahmad Jamal and Keith Jarrett encouraged Jim, from then on, to support his own vivid palette of tones and rhythms with a format of choice: the classic piano trio (on occasion augmented to a quartet or quintet). Since graduating from Berklee College of Music (where he studied on a full tuition scholarship under JoAnne Brackeen, Laszlo Gardony, Danilo Pérez, David Fiuczynski, Joe Lovano...), he has released two albums (Word Out and Spirit of the Snail) and won the Composition Prize at the “Trophées du Sunside” in Paris. Jim also co-founded AfuriKo, a colorful and atypical African infused jazz duo, with percussionist Akiko Horii. The unit has produced two albums since 2014 (On the Far Side and Style), both of which were chosen to receive full funding from SACEM (French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers).

Notable performances as a band leader/co-leader include venues and festivals such as Jazz Alley (Seoul), London Jazz Festival, Le Baiser Salé (Paris), Rockwood Music Hall (New York City), Theater Vrijburcht (Amsterdam), JazzLab (Hamburg, Germany), Kathmandu Jazz Festival (Nepal), Kanazawa Jazz Street (Japan), Jazz en Touraine (France), and Malta Jazz Festival. As a sideman, Jim has played and recorded with percussionist Marcelo Woloski (Snarky Puppy), saxophonist Philippe Lopes de Sa, singer-songwriter Benjamin de Roubaix, electro/nu-reggae artist Flox, and contemporary microtonal jazz-rock guitarist David Fiuczynski to name a few.

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Album Reviews
  • Tao by Geno Thackara
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“… on this record (“Woandering”), the piano is hardly ever content with merely accompanying, and the exercise of improvising is brought to a level of language and mutual listening on which boredom not once arises…”
- Franck Bergerot, Jazz Magazine (August 2017)

“This arrangement of Michael Jackson’s hyper-emotional ballad [ She's Out of My Life ] (“Off the Wall,” 1979) won't possibly leave you indifferent.”
- Jazz Magazine's “playlist” article (July 2017)

Autumn Leaves [...] began with a solo performance of Funnell on keyboard who was joined by Horii on cajon and the magic of their music slowly took over the venue

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


2007 - present
• freelance private instruction (piano, improvisation, music theory/composition, guitar)
2008 - 2009
• jazz piano and ensemble teacher, Conservatoire Municipal de Musique et de Danse (Mennecy, France)
2007 - 2008
• piano teacher (jazz and classical), Institut de Culture Musicale (Paris, France)

Clinic/Workshop Information

• jazz piano masterclass, Koyo Conservatory (Kobe, Japan)
• jazz masterclass (rhythm section), Euro Institute for Music and Arts (Hamrun, Malta)
• improvisation workshop, Conservatoire Municipal de Musique et de Danse (Mennecy, France)
• "Stylistic Interpretation" and "Musical Improvisation" workshops, Unidad Académica de Música de la UAZ (Zacatecas, México) & Escuela de Música aRtes Revueltas (Cholula, México)
• jazz piano masterclass, Foxborough High School (Foxborough, MA, USA)
• "Basic Musical Improvisation" workshop, Unidad Académica de Música de la UAZ (Zacatecas, México)
• latin music workshop, Booker T

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Philippe Lopes de Sa Duo / Freedom Jazz Zone



AfuriKo / Funnelljazz

Spirit of the Snail

Spirit of the Snail

Jim Funnell / Funnelljazz

On the Far Side

On the Far Side

AfuriKo / F-IRE



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